Monday, March 1, 2010
By Dawn's Early Light
As long as I'm on the subject of fowl, there is a phenomenon that I dismissed as a (sub)urban legend when I first heard it, but I have found that it is absolute truth. When a flock of chickens is without a male in residence, one of the hens will start to develop secondary sex characteristics...a bigger comb, larger wattles, longer tail feathers...everything that identifies a rooster except the spurs (and the "etc."). This pseudo-rooster will take on the protective attributes of the male, establishing the pecking order, guarding from danger, and so on. Twice it's happened, through chance or by design, that I've not had a rooster in my flock, and both times one of the girls has "flipped." It's a little disconcerting the first time you see a "rooster" that lays eggs.
My circadian rhythm is definitely set to the progress of the sun...daylight comes earlier now, and sundown is not until after six o'clock. Not so long ago I was putting the girls in for the night at four-thirty. I'm all for longer days.